Beachside weddings, tropical honeymoons: Thailand is the picture-perfect romantic getaway, melting the hearts of even the most hardened cynics. From glorious beaches and soaring mountains to rugged jungles and cities full of culture, all couples can find the perfect place in this country to feel the love.
Koh Samui is often said to be one of the most romantic destinations in all of Thailand. Situated in the heart of Thai Gulf, the island is fringed with beautiful palm-backed white-sand beaches, with vast, lush greenery and gentle hills inland. Adventure-lovers can conquer many of the island’s gushing waterfalls, or discover the blush-inducing rock formations of Hin Ta and Hin Ya (resembling male and female genitalia). After a long day of exploring, couples will be pleased to know there are many luxurious spas, plenty of which offer special treatments to enjoy together. There are many fine restaurants for a romantic candlelit dinner and sophisticated bars to sip on cocktails while watching the sun dip beneath the waves. When it comes to accommodation you’ll find everything from luxurious resorts through to quaint, rustic guesthouses.
While party-loving Phuket may not be the first choice for a romantic getaway, more up-market beach resorts like Kamala, Karon and Kata offer lashings of love. Sunbathe on warm sands, have fun exploring the island’s interior and admire gorgeous architecture in the charming Phuket Old Town. There are plentiful attractions to enjoy with your amour, including the quirky Baan Teelanka Upside Down House, the hilltop Big Buddha and Phuket Trickeye Museum. Add even more diversity to your escapades with colourful markets, boat excursions and captivating shows, not to mention a wealth of fantastic accommodations and restaurants.
Move away from the masses and enjoy some quality time on Thailand’s stunning Similan Islands. Situated in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Phang Nga Province, the archipelago has some of Thailand’s most pristine beaches, complete with soft white sand and crystal-blue water. Hike hand in hand with your love and spot an array of wildlife, including birds, lizards and small mammals. Have an underwater adventure while snorkelling or diving in the clear ocean, where schools of tropical fish swim through the waters through fascinating rock formations and coral beds. After that it’s time to unwind and disconnect from the world with a stay in a remote bungalow under the stars.
Koh Kut (sometimes spelt as Koh Kood) is a picture-perfect island off the coast of Trat in the Gulf of Thailand. Blissfully free from crowds, you and your partner can enjoy a rare sense of tranquility in splendidly scenic surroundings. The powdery coral-coloured beaches are lapped by sparkling clear waters, with verdant palms contrasting perfectly with the blue sky above. Some beaches can only be accessed by water, so board a long-tail boat and discover secluded bays (perfect for sweet, stolen kisses). Head into the hills for terrific wildlife spotting and to admire beautiful waterfalls – to get there, rent a scooter and lap up the atmosphere, riding pillion.
Thailand’s steamy capital of Bangkok has some surprisingly romantic gems – if you know where to look. Couples visiting the City of Angels enjoy stunning views of its skyline while riding the big wheel at Asiatique or from atop one of the city’s many sky bars. If you prefer to get a little more up close, take a private boat trip around the winding khlongs (canals) of Thonburi neighbourhood. Culture aficionados will enjoy the dazzling Siam Niramit show, strolling arm in arm through Lumpini Park and marveling at Bangkok’s many stunning temples. Indulge in a couple’s spa session, dine in splendid surroundings and stay in some of the nation’s finest hotels.
There’s something nostalgically romantic about stepping back in time to explore one of Thailand’s most ancient sites. The former Siamese capital of Ayutthaya offers a myriad of ruins to admire: highlights include Wat Mahathat, Wat Yai Chai Mongkorn and Bang Pa In Palace, which is just a short drive from the UNESCO-listed historic centre. Watch as graceful elephants walk among centuries-old streets and ruins, leaving nothing but footprints in their wake. Ayutthaya Night Market and Ayutthaya Floating Market are ideal spots to treat each other to some local gifts, then spend the night in a swanky hotel or a traditional wooden home on stilts.
As Thailand’s largest province, Nakhon Ratchasima has a wealth of romantic spots – both on and off the beaten track. Spend time in lush Wang Nam Khiao with its verdant vineyards and gorgeously rustic farms, hiking trails through national parks, waterfalls and undulating hills. Marvel at the unusual elephant-shaped and mosaic-covered Wat Ban Rai in the district of Dan Khun Thot, then step back in time at the Khmer-era Phimai Historical Park. The ultimate highlight for many visitors to Nakhon Ratchasima however, is exploring the spectacular Khao Yai National Park. Diverse flora and fauna, such as elephants, bears and birds, call the park home, with several glorious waterfalls amid the green-covered mountains. Couples can sleep underneath canvas, peeking their heads out of their tents to admire the twinkling stars overhead. Alternatively, cute chalets, pretty resorts and hotels to suit all budgets are within easy reach of the park entrance.
Isan’s Udon Thani might not be the first place that springs to mind when thinking of romantic destinations in Thailand, but the province provides unexpected delights for visitors during the cool season. Take a boat ride on the Red Lotus Sea (Talay Bua Deang) and be enchanted by the blanket of pink lilies that cover the water’s surface. A fantastic place for couples who prefer to head away from the tried-and-tested trail, the lake is at its most splendid between December and March. Other nearby places of interest include Phu Prabhat Historical Park, Phu Chong Na Yoi National Park and the Ban Chiang Museum, which showcases prehistoric finds from the area.
A criminally under-visited province in Northern Thailand, Lampang is a beautiful getaway for couples who prefer to escape the tourist crowds. It’s the only province where horse and carts still clop through the streets as a regular means of transportation, all the way through the charming riverside town brimming with beautiful architecture. Snap pictures of each other on the gleaming white Ratsadapisek Bridge, with gorgeous river views in the background. Admire glorious temples like Wat Phrakaewdontao, Wat Sri Chum and Wat Chedi Sao Liang. Uncover local life at the historic teak building of Baan Sao Nak and Bhumi Lakhon Museum, and enjoy nature at nearby waterfalls. If you’ve always dreamed of ethically getting up close and personal with majestic elephants, a visit to Lampang Elephant Hospital, with its rescued elephants, is highly recommended.
Thailand’s so-called ‘Northern Capital’ of Chiang Mai boasts glorious jungles, soaring mountains and an abundance of scenic views. Climb Doi Inthanon to tackle Thailand’s highest point together and marvel at the sweeping vistas. Adventurous couples can indulge in thrilling outdoor activities like ziplining, hiking and rafting. Join jungle treks, climb waterfalls and meet ethnic hill tribes. There’s plenty of culture too, with spectacular temples like Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Wat Phra Singh to grab your attention. Stroll hand in hand around the atmospheric Old Town and soak up the riverside views. As evening falls, try something different with a visit to Chiang Mai Night Safari. Alternatively, unwind in a laid-back bar or party along Nimman Road.